Keegan returns to manage Newcastle
LONDON (Reuters) - Newcastle United dramatically turned the clock back more than a decade on Wednesday by naming Kevin Keegan as manager.
Keegan, 56, who played for Newcastle in the 1980s and managed them for five years in the 1990s, was chosen as the club's fifth boss in three and a half years. He succeeds Sam Allardyce who left last week after eight months in the job.
"Geordie messiah to be unveiled as new manager," read a headline on the club's official Web site (www.nufc.co.uk) ahead of Wednesday night's FA Cup third-round replay at home to Championship (second division) side Stoke City.
"Kevin Keegan is returning to Newcastle United as manager," the club added in a move certain to be hugely popular with their loyal fans.
Keegan attended the match against Stoke and was given a rapturous welcome by Newcastle's fans when they saw him enter the directors' box soon after kickoff.
The former England coach was first appointed manager of Newcastle in 1992 when he saved the club from possible relegation to the old third division.
Keegan then took Newcastle into the Premier League in 1993 and remained with them until 1997 when he left to join Fulham and later England.
He left the England post in October 2000 before moving to Manchester City but has been out of management since leaving City in 2005.
Playing an exciting brand of attacking football, Keegan took Newcastle close to the league title in 1996. But they lost a 12-point lead over Manchester United in the closing weeks of the season and finished runners-up.
Eventually the pressure of managing Newcastle, who have under-achieved for more than half a century, got to him and it led to his abrupt resignation in January 1997.
It also led to the famous "I would love it, love it, if we beat them" televised rant at Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson as Newcastle lost form in the 1996 title run-in.
Part of the blame was laid at Keegan's door, for introducing Colombia striker Faustino Asprilla and disrupting the team at an important stage of the season.
The club's first choice to succeed Allardyce was Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp, who turned the job down on Saturday.
Since then a number of candidates were mooted including Keegan, who did not rule himself out of the running on Monday.
Gerard Houllier, Didier Deschamps, Martin Jol, Alan Shearer and Mark Hughes were among the men linked with the job.
In the end though Newcastle pinned their faith in a man from the past in a bid to bring success in the future.
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)
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